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OSCE mission heads to Ukraine

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 01:50

Mar. 22 - Pan-European rights and security monitors to launch Ukraine mission but Russia says they have no Crimea mandate. Paul Chapman reports.

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European security monitors will be coming to Ukraine but, says Russia, they won't be coming here - to Crimea. On the streets of Sevastopol Ukrainian local police have joined forces with the Russian Black Sea Fleet. A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his signature to the annexation of Crimea things are moving quickly. Russia backed the 56 other member states of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Friday in its bid to send a mission to Ukraine. The first monitors of the organisation which aims to avert conflict were due to arrive over the weekend. But Russia's ambassador to the OSCE issued a note of caution. (SOUNDBITE)(English) RUSSIA'S AMBASSADOR TO OSCE, ANDREY KELIN, SAYING: "We proceed from the assumption that the mandate of the mission is absolutely clear and ti proceeds from the geo-political realities that have been, that are existing, since today that Crimea has become a part of the Russian Federation." Among the casualties of the annexation are six Ukrainian navy ships trapped by a Russian blockade of their Black Sea headquarters. An attempt by the crew of one of the ships to break out past three scuttled vessels ended in failure on Friday. They abandoned efforts to tow one of the sunken hulks out of the way when Russian snipers showed up. At this checkpoint Ukrainian border guards said almost 1, 000 people had crossed from Crimea into Ukraine since the start of March. The U.S. and European Union have warned of more sanctions against Russia on top of those already imposed in response to the annexation of Crimea. So far Moscow's laughed them off and retaliated with some of its own in what's become the most serious East-West crisis since the Cold War.

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OSCE mission heads to Ukraine

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 01:50